A Special Investigation Team (SIT) court on Friday has pronounced the quantum of sentence for 24 convicts in the Gulbarg society massacre took place in 2002, where 69 people, including former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, were killed.
The court sentenced life imprisonment to 11 people convicted of murder. Of the 13 people convicted of lesser crimes, one was sentenced to 10 years in jail, while 12 were given imprisonment for seven years.
The court has, however, allowed the government of Gujarat to remit the sentences of the convicts. In that case, the convicts might end up serving shorter terms than they are sentenced to, reported Times Of India.
Gulbarg Society, a residential area for Muslims with 30 bungalows and 10 apartment blocks in Ahmedabad, was attacked by a mob during the Gujarat riots on 28 February 2002, a day after the Sabarmati Express was torched. Most of the houses were burnt. The ghastly incident took the life of 69 people.
The trial continued for seven years and was conducted in front of four different judges after cross-examining 338 witnesses. Earlier on June 2, the court had convicted 11 persons of murder and other offences, while 13 others, were charged with lesser offences — the list includes VHP leader Atul Vaidya. It had also acquitted 36 others in the case, including BJP leader Bipin Patel and former police inspector K G Erda, giving them the benefit of the doubt due to lack of evidence.
The latest decision of the court, however, has not been taken well by the public prosecutor representing the SC appointed SIT, Mr. RC Kodekar. He had asked the court for nothing less than life imprisonment or death sentence for all 24 convicts.
In an interview to The Indian Express, Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, said that she was not happy with the sentence announced by the SIT court. “I am not satisfied with the order as all the convicts should have gotten life imprisonment. The battle is still on and we will fight till we get justice,”said Zakia.
The Logical Indian is of the opinion that justice in cases like riots must be served as soon as possible. We hope those who were involved in the massacre get the punishment they deserve.